March 17, 2013
Sunday, 3:30 p.m.
Letter #269: Songs of the Past
It’s just after midnight, early Tuesday morning, and I’m re-writing the letter I’d planned to type up and send you just a few hours from now. This is a first for me, but I felt I wasn’t writing in the Spirit with the last letter, and thus it wasn’t an expression of God’s work in my life, but raw emotions.
Here goes: Recently, a good friend of mine told me about an incredible opportunity he’d been given to lead music for a large group of children on a ministry trip. He needed songs with particular Biblical themes, so he asked if I could write some for him. Though I haven’t written as prolifically since coming to prison, if asked, I’ve sent songs for other friends. I make a strict practice of never disclosing who I work for, and I don’t put my name on any original work I send out, so that my reputation doesn’t taint an otherwise great project. I’m just grateful to be able to share my gifts!
I told my friend to let the trip director know I’d offered to write the songs, but then I found out he’d turned me down. The reason? Because my crime was against children … it was “the principle of the thing” for him.
Trust me when I say I’m busy enough without another song project, so on one hand, I was relieved. On the other hand, something didn’t seem right. Was he claiming that my life was tainted beyond usefulness? Now, don’t get me wrong: though I enjoyed many years in children’s ministry over the years, I completely understand that those days are long behind me. Whether due to parole restrictions at first or my personal choice thereafter, I have no desire to put myself in a situation where there could be any doubt about my intentions. Besides, I wasn’t asking if I could lead a Sunday School class. I’m in prison. And I don’t claim to be God’s gift to song writing, either. It just feels good to be used by God to bless others, being a part of the Body of Christ. I knew I needed to try to see it from the leader’s perspective, so I got his number.
I introduced myself over the phone and politely inquired about his decision. He said that though he believed Christ’s blood had covered my sins and purified me, I “should never bless children again.” He said I can write for adults, but not children. I told him about my decision to do the wise thing and not lead Children’s Ministries in the future. However, I couldn’t ignore the Apostle Paul, who had once killed Christians; he later had the privilege of benefitting those he’d hurt. And the head of a ministry I’d worked with had beaten his wife—daily—before his conversion. Now, forgiven, repentant, should he never bless women again? And is that a Biblical concept? I personally saw God use that man to bless women all over the world because of his brokenness. Should I not send my tithes to fund children’s charity? We couldn’t see eye-to-eye, so I thanked him for his time, and we hung up.
Well, that’s about where my first letter to you ended, minus a few details. I’m not upset about the leader’s decision, since he’s probably doing what he believes is best for his ministry, and I don’t blame him. Regardless of what my heart’s intentions are these days, man will continue to look at my past, and I must accept that. I’ve ruined my own credibility, and whether or not there is truth or wisdom in the opinion that I should never again be a blessing to children, I need to not worry about it, nor should I try to devise brilliant legal rebuttals. I should leave all of the door-opening jobs to my Heavenly Father who sees my heart and is capable of giving me the ministry opportunities He deems best for me at this time. I’m content with the many ways He’s opened doors for me thus far, and I trust Him to lead and direct my future. This is wisdom.
Thank you for praying for me! God finally got ahold of my attitude on this one, for which I’m grateful! Maybe I’ll write a song about it—for adults only, of course. (Kidding, people!)